Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan photographer has close encounter with wolves

Getting up close and personal with wildlife is just another day at the office for Saskatchewan photographer Jason Leo Bantle.

Jason Leo Bantle snaps shots of elk, wolves

Saskatchewan wildlife photographer, Jason Leo Bantle, waited more than two hours on the riverbank to capture this photo of a wolf. (Submitted by Jason Leo Bantle)

Getting up close and personal with wildlife is just another day at the office for Saskatchewan photographer Jason Leo Bantle.

He makes a living by spending hours sitting still in the great outdoors just so he can snap the perfect photograph of a wild animal.

The Christoper Lake resident and his assistant Troy Whitmarsh travelled to the Banff National Park to capture stunning shots of elk during the rutting season.

While they were following the elk, a pack of wolves approached the herd. 

"We saw the wolves take a run at the herd. The herd ran but then once they came out of the trees and gathered a few of the members, they went back into the trees and chased the wolves," said Bantle. 

"It was a reverse. It was like 'so you're going to chase us, we're going to chase you.'" 

As the elk crossed the river, two males started a fight. (Submitted by Jason Leo Bantle)

He had a feeling the wolves would try to attack the elk again. Bantle and his assistant watched as the herd crossed the river to feed in the meadows near the golf course. Two male elks initiated a duel.

"They are more focused on fighting than the wolves," said Bantle.

Bantle waited with his assistant on the riverbank for more than two hours. As the sun began to set, the wolves reappeared.

"Then they howled. Oh my God. It was incredible. We were literally 30, 40 yards across the river from them," said Bantle.

Even though the lighting conditions were tough, Bantle took photos while his assistant captured video.

Bantle is planning to return to Banff to capture more images of the wolf pack. He will also be travelling to Yellowknife to gather photos of the Northern Lights.

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